Tuesday marked the official last day of classes in my first masters graduate semester. Only three more semesters (one year!) to go until I will graduate with an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction: Learning, Design, and Technology from the University of Houston.
I really like saying that whole title. I’m proud of every word.
I’m the first in my family to complete a Bachelors degree, so the idea of having a Masters degree (and maybe one day a doctoral degree, perhaps an Ed.D) is mind-blowing.
Curriculum and Instruction is my life. I wanted to be a teacher since I could walk. As a teacher, I work with the curriculum every day, and I don’t think I even need to say anything about how the instruction half of that applies to me. The past two years, I’ve been gifted the opportunity to work on a district team of Curriculum Writers, a group of teachers from across the district that meet every couple of months to work with the content specialists in creating resources that align to our district’s scope and sequence. This year our district has been moving toward the idea of power standards, focusing in depth on the standards that are the most beneficial to our students instead of trying to cover every one of the standards superficially. I was able to work with other teachers from the other campuses in our district to narrow down and choose the standards that will best help our students not just pass the state test, but succeed in their future classes and as a citizen. It’s a large task, and it was been incredibly rewarding to be a part of this team.
Learning, Design, and Technology. I love this specific program for so many reasons. I’m learning how to systematically design instruction to best benefit all of my students. I won’t always have the time to spend an entire semester designing one hour of instruction, but the skills I’ve learned through the process are already helping me create better and more meaningful lessons in my classroom. In addition to that, I’m also learning ways to better incorporate technology into my classroom. I’ve learned new tools and new procedures to ensure I’m providing the best possible instruction to my students and that the technology used in my classroom enhances learning instead of inhibiting it. I’ve learned so much in just these two fist classes; I can’t wait to see what the next 8 or 9 classes will hold for me.
Then there’s that last bit: the University of Houston. I grew up in small town Ohio. My dad’s side of the family exists a bit in this part of the country, but they’re mostly in New Mexico. I earned my undergrad at an amazing university only about an hour from home. Some days I look back at the whirlwind from April to July of 2014 that took me from driving to Texas to interview with 5 schools in one day, to graduating college, and then moving my entire life to Texas. Holy cannoli, that was a crazy risky leap. And holy cannoli do I not regret one single part of it. Of course I miss home and I miss my family, but I’ve built a family here too. Just three short years and I’m married to a Texas native with a zoo of furbabies (4 cats, 2 dogs), I have a new circle of friends including my in-laws, and I’m teaching and learning every day. Petersburg, Ohio is my hometown, but Houston, Texas is my home now.
*deep reflective sigh*
Spring 2017 semester is over. Now what?
I’m greatly looking forward to my summer classes that will start in June and July. I won’t go into long boring details about those classes just yet (I’m sure I’ll be blogging about them enough), but I am excited for a class I’m taking outside of my program requirements. As an English teacher, a class titled Diagnosing and Correcting Reading Problems sounds pretty epic and I believe it could truly help improve my teaching.
But until then…
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m reading the Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing with my freshmen. In fact, today I had them up and acting out the disastrous wedding scene while I played director. We have just one and half more acts to go as we wind down this school year into watching the full length play, playing review games, and finally the finals before summer break is upon us.
But I was teaching already. What to do with all this after school spare time?
Recently as I was scrolling Twitter, I came across a post from ISTE‘s Ed Tech Coaches Professional Learning Network. Now, I’ll admit, I’m not actually an educational technology coach. I’m an English teacher. However, I use technology a lot in my classroom (as you can see here, here, and here), and I help my coworkers out with it as much as I can. Perhaps one day I will have the title EdTech Coach, but for now I’m trying to learn as much as possible from those who already have it. Which is why the idea of a Blogging Buddies group for EdTech Coaches caused my ears to perk up.
The general idea is that you post at least once a month (which I may have slowed in my posts recently, I still post well more than once a month) and then read and comment on each other’s blogs. This opportunity is incredibly appealing to me. I get to find other professional’s blogs and read and learn from them, and I get meaningful feedback and responses from those same professionals (plus I get a little more traffic to my blog!). I am excited for the opportunity of networking with other professionals and getting to connect with them beyond my new best friend, Twitter.
Plus I love anything that gets me a new badge:
So, I plan to devote more of my upcoming free time to learning from other professionals as much as possible and continuing to blog as much as possible. Please, check out my Blogging Buddies group:
Beyond that, a recent picture of me at a department teacher appreciation lunch may have spurred me to spend some of this extra time giving p90x3 another go, or at least taking the dogs on more walks and eating more salad (and less Taco Bell).
Only 28 more days until summer arrives, and I’m looking to make the most of every minute!